Ireland waits on rape case

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The Independent Online
The Irish cabinet yesterday debated the country's renewed abortion nightmare amid expectations that the Dublin High Court may be asked to approve a termination for a pregnant rape victim aged 13.

The latest controversy resembles the 1992 "X" case when a court banned a pregnant 14-year-old from travelling abroad to have an abortion. That restriction was later lifted.

The present girl's family are travellers living in a dilapidated caravan in west Dublin without running water. She was raped while babysitting for friends of her parents 12 weeks ago and is now with a foster family. The case is expected to come before the High Court once psychiatric reports on the girl's state of health are prepared. The health authority needs legal direction before it can initiate or fund an abortion.

Two referendums in 1992 guaranteed women's rights to travel abroad and obtain abortion information. A third, proposing legal abortion where the life of the mother was at stake, failed to win approval. As a result the abortion law remains the 1983 amendment giving the mother and unborn child equal rights to life, a formula that may lead the High Court to block a termination.